Almost anyone who has ever worn glasses or contacts has probably considered the benefits of laser vision correction at some point. If you missed my first post in this series, I took a humorous look at a few of the biggest annoyances glasses and contacts wearers face on a daily basis. Today I'm diving into the real pros and cons of LASIK surgery!
While it is a simple procedure, it's still a surgery nonetheless and something that must be considered carefully. At the end of the post, I'll discuss options to help you pay for the surgery.
The Pros of LASIK Surgery:
- Comfort: Let's face it; glasses and contacts can be uncomfortable. Contacts often irritate eyes and glasses tend to be cumbersome. You'll eliminate the need for contacts after LASIK and most patients are also able to completely do away with their glasses.
- Rapid Improvement: LASIK is a simple procedure with very little downtime, and results are almost immediate — typically within 24 hours. Patients notice remarkable improvement after the surgery that often continues throughout the healing process.
- Freedom: The ability to participate in contact sports or go swimming without having to worry about the negatives that accompany glasses or contacts can be quite freeing. (My friends who have had the surgery say it definitely improved their lifestyle! Look for more on this in Part 3 of this series.)
- Visual Acuity: Many patients report having 20/20 or better vision after recovering from LASIK. Because LASIK is a permanent solution for visual conditions, the majority of patients won't ever need to repeat the surgery or wear glasses again!
The Cons of LASIK Surgery:
- Cost: It is not typically covered by insurance, so most patients pay out-of-pocket for the procedure. (Keep reading because I discuss how to help cover the cost in the next section.)
- Permanence: LASIK surgery involves permanent reshaping of the cornea, so it's not a reversible procedure. Once you've had the procedure, you can't return to your old eyesight. This is why it's imperative to do thorough research and select a qualified surgeon who will openly share prior surgical results and performance records with you.
- Risk: As with any surgical procedure, there are inherent risks involved. Some of the risks your doctor will explain during your consultation are: the possibility for over- or under-correction, visual changes, dry eyes, infections, or flap issues. Be inquisitive during your consultation so you can make a fully informed decision about whether it's the right option for you. (Fortunately, the chance of complications is very minute with LASIK.)
- Limitations: LASIK is not an option for everyone. If your corneas are too thin or are irregularly shaped, if you suffer from glaucoma, if you're currently pregnant, or if certain diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes affect you — then you may not be a good candidate for LASIK. Schedule a consultation with your surgeon to discuss these issues.
Paying for LASIK Surgery:
LASIK centers strive to keep prices within reach for patients who need the surgery. Still, committing to a surgery that you have to pay for out-of-pocket is a big step! Most laser vision correction centers offer free consultations to determine whether or not you're a good candidate, so be sure to take advantage of those services.
- Ask your local vision correction center if they offer in-house financing plans or accept payments in installations.
- Use Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA) to utilize your pre-tax dollars to pay for the surgery. Learn more about this option on the ARSC website: A Popular Financing Option for LASIK: FSAs and HSAs.
- If you need to finance your surgery, sites such as CareCredit, Wells Fargo Health Advantage, CosmetiCredit, MedLoanFinance, and SurgeryLoans.com exsist specifically to help fund procedures such as gastric bypass, braces, and LASIK.
- If you've read my article about funding plastic surgery, a few of the tips I referenced there may be applicable if you're seeking a discount for LASIK surgery. In particular, you may want to request a small discount for paying in cash or inquire about becoming a spokesperson for the company. Don't forget to sign up for your local vision center's newsletters to learn if they offer discounts during slower seasons!
- Finally, tax returns are a great way to fund LASIK surgery! I'm a firm believer in using returns to invest in yourself. I typically apply mine (if I get one) towards my retirement fund. However, giving yourself the gift of sight is certainly a worthwhile investment!
I hope these tips have helped provide additional insight if you're considering LASIK. My final post will discuss whether or not you’re a good candidate for the surgery. It also describes what to expect before, during, and after having LASIK — including when you can begin wearing eye makeup again! I'll also share the experiences of a few friends and family who have already had it.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the pros and cons of LASIK surgery, and I'll do my best to answer. It can truly be a life-changing surgery! It's worth doing your due diligence to determine if it's the right option for you.